Category Archives: Development

Development: Building a Culture of PhilanthropyPosted on June 7, 2015

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to a culture of philanthropy?

Building a culture of philanthropy takes a long time and a dedicated commitment from leadership and all stakeholders. It requires long term relationship building, strategic planning and vision, and regular consistent education. And after you take all of the time to build the culture, you must find ways to sustain it.

What is the case for building a culture of philanthropy anyway?

A culture of philanthropy means you have an engaged board participating in fundraising activities and actively sharing your mission and accomplishments. They all have the elevator speech down. The staff has all bought in and support the development foundation. There is staff dedicated specifically to development and fundraising goals are clear to all stakeholders. All processes focus on the donor and leadership gives time to donor relationship building, especially the CEO.  All of this means more donors, more positive word of mouth, and the more likely your organization is to further its mission in your community.

How can you help?

  1. Ask questions. Make sure you understand your organization’s fundraising goals and know how development impacts your organization’s ability to further the mission.
  2. Share with your coworkers, friends, and family the positive difference and huge impact fundraising has on your organization’s ability to fulfill the mission.
  3. Be the reason donors choose to give to your organization. Live out the mission through your work each day.

How would you work to build and sustain a culture of philanthropy at your organization? 

Development: Volunteer ProgramPosted on May 31, 2015

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to a successful volunteer program?

Volunteers need as much or more leadership and time as the development staff do.  They need guidelines, oversight, job descriptions, task lists, tools, and more.  With the development team’s limited resources and time already, this can seem overwhelming.   The development staff must communicate more and give more time in order to keep everyone rowing in the same direction.

What is the case for building a volunteer program anyway?

Allowing time to develop and sustain a strong volunteer program will give you one of the highest returns on investment you will ever experience.  When volunteers are passionate about supporting your organization and raising money, they often bring more donors and more volunteers to your organization.  Most volunteers already have a personal connection to your organization so they are usually some of the best word of mouth marketers you’ve ever seen!  They strengthen your organization’s message to the community, they build more donor loyalty and build close relationships, and they raise much more money for your nonprofit than you could possibly raise without their support.  With the support to recruitment of volunteers, retention and relationship building with donors, and by spreading your organization’s message even further, volunteers breathe life into your organization’s development program.

How can you help?

  1. Become a volunteer!  Giving more of yourself and your time is one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences.
  2. Share volunteer opportunities at your organization with anyone who may be interested.
  3. Thank volunteers for their time and energy as often as you possibly can.  They are real heroes for your nonprofit organization.

Have you ever volunteered for a nonprofit organization?  Share your experience and what motivated you to give your time.

Development: Grant WritingPosted on May 24, 2015

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to successful grant writing?

Grants can be extremely difficult to find, difficult to write, and difficult to administer.  You must read the fine print and ensure that your nonprofit meets all of the requirements of the grant.  To even start a grant application, you must have a compelling case that meets the objectives the grant maker is trying to address.  You must have a program or service that makes sense for your community.  You don’t want to apply for funds to address a project from which your community may not benefit.  Grants require a lot of administrative oversight with the submission of status reports, financial reports, and auditing to ensure grant objectives are being met.  And after all of that, keep in mind that there are hundreds of other nonprofit organizations out there competing for the same funding!

What is the case for focusing on grant writing anyway?

Grant writing is integral to a comprehensive development program.  There are thousands and thousands of grant opportunities available to nonprofits.  If you thoroughly perform grant research, you can find grant makers who have the same or similar objectives as your nonprofit organization.  When you do that, you are much more likely to be funded and you cut down on some of the competition. Grants provide another source of funding for projects and services that your community desperately needs that might not otherwise be available to your nonprofit organization. This funding may be exactly what your organization needs to complete or launch a project that makes vast improvements and changes lives within your community.  Grants are vital to the organization’s overall fundraising plan because you are able to obtain funding from outside of your community and not just rely solely on your community’s support.  There are people all over the nation who want to help others and make it their mission to provide communities with the support they need to make a difference.  You just have to be committed to finding it and making the compelling case for the funding.

How can you help?

  1. Make sure the person writing grants for your organization knows all of the needs.  A grant opportunity may become available that could make all the difference for your program or service line.
  2. When an opportunity does become available, provide support and feedback to the grant writer so the grant proposal is the best it can be upon submission.  The grant writer may not know the program or service as well as you, so your input is vital to the grant’s success.
  3. Upon receiving grant funding, attend scheduled meetings to ensure your program is meeting all grant objectives and provide any data or outcomes to the grant writer for status/financial reports.

Have you ever applied for a grant?  Share an approach that has worked well for you.

Development: Planned Giving ProgramsPosted on May 17, 2015

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to launching Planned Giving Programs?

The biggest barrier to launching a planned giving program is making the choice to invest in a program that will not show an immediate return on investment.  Planned giving takes a significant amount of time and relationship building up front.  Planned gifts are often a result of years of donor cultivation.  As with any development program, planned giving requires a clear and compelling case and plan for the future of the organization.  It takes committed development staff trained in the complexities of the field, significant board and leader support and clear understanding of the program, plans to continuously cultivate planned giving donors, marketing, and strict management oversight, policies, and procedures.  As you can see, launching a comprehensive planned giving program can be a lofty goal!

What is the case for building a Planned Giving Program anyway?

Planned giving should be a win-win for the organization and donor.  Development staff should really be focused on making sure that the donor’s motivation for giving matches the organization’s mission and that the gift they are giving meets their personal long term financial goals.  Of course, their legal and financial advisors should always be involved.  There is an “80/20 rule” we learn in philanthropy studies that basically states that 80% of nonprofit contributions received comes from about 20% of your donors and often by way of planned giving.  Planned giving tends to produce large gifts and allows donors to make gifts to the nonprofit other than cash, such as real estate, stocks, and bonds.  Donors can often increase their income and take advantage of tax savings.

How can you help?

  1. Build strong relationships with the organization’s patients, partners, and vendors.
  2. Make a point to publicly share the organization’s mission.
  3. Make the choice to learn more about your organization’s planned giving opportunities.

How do you develop relationships with donors?  Share your experiences.

Development: Major GiftsPosted on May 10, 2015

What are the barriers to receiving Major Gifts?

Organizations have to decide and outline what constitutes a major gift to them. This requires research, thoughtful planning, and leader and board input and approval. Major gifts take a long time to develop. As mentioned multiple times in this series, it’s all about building relationships.  It takes identifying, cultivating, and ensuring that the donor and the organization’s goals line up with one another.  What this means is that development staff really need to know their donors and understand their reasons for giving, the causes for which they are most passionate, and the personal goals the donors have for giving back.  This allows staff to really match up community needs and projects with the right donors.

What is the case for building a major gifts program anyway?

Matching up the right community cause with the right donor, whose specific needs are to address such causes, creates an environment where both the organization and the donor win.  A donor should be able to fulfill a personal philanthropic objective and the organization should be able to make a lasting community change. Major gifts provide an organization and a donor with an outlet to accomplish something meaningful and important to them.  Major gifts show a real collaboration between the organization, donor, and community.  Major gifts often lead to planned giving (next week’s topic), which is an important resource to development foundations.

How can you help?

  1. Listen to your donors.  You really get to know someone when you stop talking and start listening.
  2. Create custom strategies and plans for your donors.  Every donor is different.  Donors have different goals and objectives, different motivation for giving, and have different expectations of their relationship with your organization.
  3. Always continue to cultivate and thank your donors.  This really needs no explanation; however, please remember that your donor has given to your organization because of the two way relationship they have established.  Continue to thank them and show them the difference they are making in your community.

Have you ever asked for a major gift?  Share your experience.

Development: The Capital CampaignPosted on May 3, 2015

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to a successful capital campaign?

Simply put, a capital campaign consists of activities to raise funds for specific cause.  The capital campaign typically has a large scale financial goal with a timeline for reaching that goal.  In a small community, lofty fundraising goals can seem impossible to reach.  Capital campaigns require a compelling case to improve the community, a carefully thought out plan, strong board support and participation, and organizational support from the top down, all of which are significant investments.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Capital campaigns can really bring people together to work toward a common goal that provides the community with something more – something needed.  It really is amazing to see what communities can come together and achieve.  SOMC was able to build an inpatient Hospice Center through a capital campaign. The center provides extraordinary care in a comforting setting that the entire community can take pride in for having played a role.  Capital campaigns also create a lot of momentum for a development foundation and have shown to increase fundraising dollars over time, allowing the nonprofit to provide even more support to the community.  When there is a truly compelling case that impacts the community, strong board and leader support, and a solid plan has been developed, there is no reason not to start!

How can you help?

  1. Ask questions.  The more you ask about the capital campaign, the more you know and are able to communicate to others.
  2. Spread the word.  By sharing what the organization is trying to accomplish and bring to the community through the capital campaign, you may spark interest in a donor to give back or support the cause.
  3. Make connections.  In all that you do, strive to make lasting connections. Organizations are built by their employees, so the connections you make will show your community a glimpse of how much your organization truly cares.  And this will go a long way during a capital campaign.

Have you ever taken part in a capital campaign? Share your experience and ideas.


Development: The Annual Fund ProgramPosted on April 26, 2015

Kara Redoutey, MBA


Development requires constant learning and ongoing education, and one of the first things you will learn about at Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy’s Principles and Techniques of Fundraising course is the Four Legged Stool (seen pictured below). It basically conveys the importance of building the 4 pillars of a successful development program: Annual Fund, Capital Campaign, Major Gifts, and Planned Giving Programs.  A strong development foundation is built by having all four programs, but the base of all giving starts with an Annual Fund Program, which is why we will discuss its importance first.

Four Legged Stool

What are the barriers to an Annual Fund Program?

An annual fund program requires a lot of management and oversight.  This can be challenging in small shops with limited staffing.  If the purpose of the annual fund and the case for fundraising isn’t communicated well on a regular basis, donors won’t support the fund.  Ongoing evaluation is required to ensure that modifications are made every year to improve the annual fund program.  This requires planning, a focus on results and goal setting, and board members and employees alike to be committed to the success of this leg of fundraising.  It all starts here, and if the annual fund program isn’t successful, the organization may see similar results in the other legs of the stool.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

The annual fund program helps the development team to begin building relationships with donors who are new to the institution or donors who have recently made a connection with your institution. The development staff often works to build upon those connections and these donors continue to support the organization for years to come.  They become brand advocates, and for our marketing folks out there, we know how important it is to have folks outside of the organization who consistently support your organization and share information and stories.  The annual fund program also helps to build financial support for the areas of greatest need in the organization. Undesignated funds are the backbone of an annual fund program, allowing the organization to allocate the funds when and where they will have the greatest impact, responding to challenges and new opportunities as they arise.  Another important reason for the annual fund program is the ability to deliver a consistent message to our donors, sharing information about the organization’s needs, growth, and accomplishments.

How can you help?

  1. Seek to learn more about your development foundation’s annual fund program goals.
  2. Share with coworkers and community members what you learn.
  3. Give back to the areas or programs for which you are passionate.  When you talk about fundraising and development, your credibility is strengthened when you are a donor as well.  And remember, donors should always give the amount that makes sense for them. There is no minimum amount to give and there are no expectations.

Do you have any ideas or advice for building a strong Annual Fund Program?

Development: Building a Strong BoardPosted on April 19, 2015

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What do board members do and what are the barriers to building a strong board?

There are several barriers to building a strong board, and the first is that board members need to offer time, talent, or treasure to the nonprofit.  Board members need to support the mission and be engaged in the programs, services, and success of the organization.  Board members are fiscally responsible and are actively engaged in planning for the future of the nonprofit organization. Board members also serve as advocates and extensions of the organization in the community, so they often hear positive feedback and some negative.  Board members are responsible for raising awareness and assisting in fundraising processes.  Being a board member is hard work and it takes a lot of responsibility.  The kicker is that all of this governance, responsibility, and work for the nonprofit organization is given in a volunteer capacity.  Board members are not paid to serve in their role.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

It should be clear after reading the barriers and some of the requirements of a board member why building a strong board is so important, but here are a few more reasons.  Board members can offer excellent feedback from your community and can provide perceptions from an outside perspective.  Programs and services can often be improved based on this feedback.  Strong boards can help the development staff reach their fundraising goals by playing an active role.  Without their connections and introductions, meeting goals can be difficult.  The development staff is often small, so having volunteers so willing to assist with meetings goals, event planning, tasks, and planning for the future makes a huge difference.  The development team can do and achieve so much more for the community when they have a group of people who are focused on results and making a positive difference.

How can you help?

  1. Recommend board members who you think represent your community well and have time, talent, or treasure to give to your nonprofit organization.  It is extremely valuable when board members can offer additional talent and insight to the nonprofit staff.
  2. Let board members know what is going on in your area of the organization.  The more informed board members are the better advocates they are for the organization.
  3. Thank board members for all of their time, efforts, and hard work supporting and strengthening the mission of your nonprofit organization, all in a volunteer capacity.   

Do you have any advice for building a strong nonprofit board of directors?

Development: Successful Fundraising EventsPosted on April 12, 2015

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

Even though most foundations really focus on the cost effectiveness of their events and the cost to raise a dollar, it is nearly impossible to avoid expenses altogether when hosting events.  There are usually expenses associated with events, such as invitations, food, and entertainment, but there is also a large amount of time given by the people involved in planning and executing the events.  Many foundations even rely on volunteers and board members to really step up and assist with the execution of events, but these folks usually have other full time jobs too.  Events take a lot of planning meetings, time, and focus to execute them successfully.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Events create awareness for your foundation and your purpose. While events can be entertaining and lots of fun, there is usually a moment during the event where attendees can learn about the foundation.  We often share a brief overview of the development foundation and show a video highlighting the purpose for the fundraising event.  The event and the education on the foundation you provide can give attendees a glimpse of your organizational culture and show what you’re all about.  The best thing about events is that they often bring like-minded people together supporting an initiative to improve the community.

How can you help?

  1. Purchase a ticket to the next event and attend. You’ll learn more about the development foundation and have fun.
  2. Volunteer your time to the foundation or a particular event committee.  There is nothing more valuable than your time and assistance with tasks.
  3. Thank the event committee who works so hard to host a fun and successful fundraising event.  It really is hard work.

Do you have any questions about fundraising events?

Development: Identifying Priority ProjectsPosted on April 5, 2015

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

There are so many needs in healthcare, which can make it difficult to prioritize which projects may be funded by the development foundation. Some leaders still don’t realize that the development foundation may be able to support their next project or initiative, so they will not request assistance. The development foundation board of directors may not be able to fund some requests, but the mission of the development foundation is always guiding the decision making.  It is imperative for many nonprofit organizations to find ways to identify priority projects.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

We identify priority projects based on the Community Health Needs Assessment performed for our service area.  We also utilize feedback from our patients and community members regarding health care needs and health and wellness needs.  Our development foundation board of directors is comprised of community members who share valuable feedback with the development team regularly.  These tools give the development foundation team a framework to begin prioritizing project requests.

It is also important to note that there isn’t just one way to fund a project or need.  There are many ways to fund a project, some of which we will be discussing in more detail in later weeks.  It usually isn’t a “one size fits all” approach.  We often utilize several of the options listed below to help fund projects, and these are just a few of the tools we have at our fingertips:

  • Specific donor with a specific interest
  • Existing fund created to support a particular area
  • Grant proposals
  • Capital Campaign
  • Major Gifts
  • Planned Giving
  • And More!

How can you help?

  1. Let the development team know when there is an important need in your area.  We may be able to assist in funding that need. It isn’t a guarantee, but like I mentioned earlier, there are several different methods to seek funding for an important initiative or project.
  2. If you know someone who is interested in giving to a particular project or service line, help connect them with the development team.  Once you make an introduction, the development team can help the donor fulfill their wish to support a project.
  3. Understand that the development foundation cannot fund or support every initiative and project request. Our primary goal is to ensure that there is quality health care and health and wellness opportunities in our community for many years to come, so we must prioritize and select the projects and programs that further that goal.

Do you have any questions about identifying priority projects?

  • More information
  • (740) 356-5000